Friday, October 19, 2012Source: Atul Pandey WisekangarooHave you ever had the following thoughts?
Every year nearly 500,000 individuals come to Australia from foreign countries to work or to study. Most belong to Asian countries where English is not spoken as a first language. As a result, even highly qualified and academically brilliant international students and workers feel less confident and fail to socialize with their native English speaking peers.If you are an international student or a skilled professional then having good spoken and written English language skills can help you do well at school and work. The following 10 tips will help you to improve your English speaking skills and help you feel more confident when you talk.
- I wish I could speak English more fluently with my school friends.
- I wish I could communicate confidently in English with my co-workers.
- I wish I could express my thoughts clearly in English.
- Start talking in English: Do you know why most non English speakers struggle to speak English fluently? Because they don’t speak in English as much as their English speaking peers. It’s as simple as that! The more you speak in English, the better you will get at it. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. If you do feel like you are speaking incorrectly don’t get conscious. Just laugh it off and keep talking. Remember practice makes permanent!
- Hire an English tutor: It is often very difficult to learn a new language on your own. English is a complicated language and having someone explain all the little grammar rules and pronunciations can be very helpful. Having a tutor will help you work on all aspects of English in a more structured manner. It is easy to find good English tutors these days. Just go on Google and search for an English tutor in your area. You could even checkout websites like Wisekangaroo that offerOnline English tutors so that you can learn from the comfort of your own home without having to waste time in travelling. Wisekangaroo has an amazing online virtual classroom that lets users talk via video and audio chat. It even has a whiteboard where students and tutors can draw pictures and scribble together.
- Join a Meetup Group: Search on Meetup.com to look for meetup groups in your local area for English language. Choose a meetup that has a good number of members (usually more than 50). Check to see if the group meets regularly and look at the number of members who attended the last meetup. You can even message the organizer to introduce yourself before you attend the meetup so that you don’t feel awkward when you attend the meetup the first time. Interacting with more speakers who are at the same level of English as you will give you more confidence.
- Start a Twitter account: Do you already have a Twitter account? If not start one today! If you already have a Twitter account start tweeting in English. Write as often as you want and as much as you want. The fact that your tweets are public and can be read by anyone will make you work harder on your written communication skills. You can even start a proper blog to write bigger posts. If you post regularly you will be able to notice a gradual improvement in your sentence construction and vocabulary when you read your posts after a few weeks.
- Ask questions and discuss on Online English Forums: There are a large number of Online English forums where you can ask questions and discuss about English. Most users on these forums are very helpful and you will usually receive an answer within a few hours of posting a question.
- Take an English language test: Most of us take things more seriously when the stakes are higher. Enrol for an English language test such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or OET (Occupational English Test). Apart from making you work harder at learning English it will also serve as a recognition of your English language skills for employers and educational institutes.
- Read Interesting English books and magazines: Course books and office documents can be boring to read and often the language used in them is not useful for conversations. Try to read interesting novels that have lots of conversations between characters. Start with comics or magazines that have short articles. If you feel comfortable move to bigger novels. Read news articles daily on English news websites such as SMH and CNN. This will also help you in your conversations with friends or colleagues as you can use the sentences from the news articles when discussing the latest events with them.
- Watch English Movies and Serials: Another motivating and easy way to improve your English is to hear the way native English speakers talk in different circumstances. The best way to do this is by watching English movies and serials. If initially you cannot understand what is being said, switch on the subtitles. Gradually you will be able to follow what is being said without the subtitles. Try to say the dialogues out aloud in the same accent as the actors in the movies and serials. This will help you improve your accent.
- Start thinking in English: In order to truly gain expertise in English, you need to train your subconscious mind to help you speak better. Most non-native English speakers think in their own native language and so the natural response of their subconscious mind is to prompt them with non English words during a conversation. Start ”thinking” in English. With practice your mind will start feeding you words and phrases in English instead of translating in real-time from your native language to English while having a conversation.
- Finally keep it interesting and have fun: Our brains work best if the activity that we are doing is interesting and fun. Always try to have fun while learning. Sing Karaoke in English. Maybe even make a version of Gangnam Style in English and post it on You Tube.
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